Online MSN – Family Nurse Practitioner Program

Provide Primary and Preventative Care to Patients of all Ages

Accessible, Affordable. You Can Do This!

As part of health care’s increasing focus on preventative care, nurse practitioners are increasingly taking on primary care responsibilities as autonomous providers or in collaboration with other health care professionals. The online Family Nurse Practitioner specialization of Sacred Heart University’s online Master of Science in Nursing program focuses on the advanced skills specific to providing primary clinical care to individuals of all ages.

Sacred Heart University is known for its excellence in nursing education with the resources, expertise and pathways that can propel you to continued career advancement and long-term success.

This program prepares you for the Family Nurse Practitioner certification exams offered by the American Nurses Association (ANA) and the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners (AANP). Most coursework is offered online; however, an on-site orientation and two on-site competency/evaluation visits are required.

Sacred Heart’s flexible, online degrees enable you to balance your personal and professional responsibilities while gaining the skills and insights to create a positive impact for organizations in business, healthcare, education, and more.

Fully Accredited

GRE/GMAT Not Required

Three Starts Per Year

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Gain Advanced Skills Without Pausing Your Career

As autonomous care providers, Family Nurse Practitioners can conduct physical examinations, diagnose diseases and injuries, and treat common illnesses. To prepare you for these responsibilities, coursework focuses heavily on primary care topics as well as advanced health assessment, pharmacology and health care research.

Through 42 total credit hours, gain the skills to diagnose and treat patients over their entire lifespan through the use of health assessments, statistical data, and the diagnostic reasoning process. You’ll also learn to communicate health plans to diverse patients with varied family systems, understand the various drug groups, and manage drug therapy to avoid adverse reactions.

Some of the courses you may take include:

Advanced Health Assessment for the Nurse Practitioner

3 Credit Hours

Students learn to assess the biopsychosocial health status of clients across the life span in depth by obtaining a complete and accurate health history and by performing a thorough physical examination, then using the acquired data to formulate a working medical diagnosis. Content is designed to provide correlation of assessment strategies with an understanding of the mechanisms of illness and health problems of the main body systems, as well as to address the integration of common medical testing. Students explore the role of the advanced practice nurse in the current health care delivery system. The laboratory component enables students to develop advanced assessment skills.

Theory and Professional Roles for Contemporary Nursing Practice

3 Credit Hours

This course is one of the graduate core classes that provides the foundation for advanced practice nursing. The role of the advanced practice nurse as a member of the profession will be emphasized. Students will be introduced to theories from nursing, natural, social, biological and organizational sciences to frame their future practice. Further, students consider issues of cultural diversity and competence to assure the delivery of culturally competent care and minimization of health disparities.

Primary Care I: Comprehensive Primary Care of the Adult

6 Credit Hours

This is the first of three clinical courses in this online nurse practitioner program designed to enable students to learn problem-solving skills and clinical strategies necessary to socialize into the role of the Family Nurse Practitioner. Coursework introduces students to a systematic approach to understanding the delivery of primary health care to the well adult. Various principles of illness prevention and health maintenance are introduced, as well as methodologies used to diagnose and treat common primary care problems. Emphasis is on the consultation role component of the nurse practitioner as well as on the direct provision of primary care and health promotion.

Health Care Policy & Ethics for Contemporary Nursing Practice

3 Credit Hours

This core course focuses on history, policy, and ethics in nursing and health care. It examines health care policy, including global health considerations, health care financing, quality and safety in health care, and the ethics of health care. Current practices in nursing and health care are viewed from the past and present as a way to contemplate the future. The course builds on a framework of critical thinking, as students explore aspects of the history of nursing and medicine, analysis of current policy development, and implications of the past for present and future actions in nursing and health care.

Why Online Learning is Right for You

The advantages of online learning are obvious – you don’t have to pause your career or rearrange your life to earn the degree you need to take your career to the next level. Another key factor is fit – making sure a school feels right to you. Sacred Heart’s Center for Career & Professional Development will welcome you as if you had just walked through the door here in Fairfield. With an exclusive, online recruiting system of 10,000+ employers, one-on-one career counseling, resume workshops, and an active alumni network of more than 35,000, you can rest assured knowing that our campus reaches wherever you are.

Take a Six-Figure Career Path

Demand is high for quality primary care providers with employment in health care occupations projected to grow 40 percent from 2021 to 2031.1 Family nurse practitioners deliver the highest level of patient care allowable under a nursing credential. This role is essential to solving modern health care challenges. As a primary care nurse practitioner, you can expect to earn an average base salary of $108,488.2

In addition to a specialty hospital setting, nurse practitioners can often be found providing personal care services and primary care services in business, professional and labor organizations, as well as government health agencies.

Places you could work as a family nurse practitioner

  • Hospitals
  • Community clinics
  • Private clinics
  • School clinics
  • Phone/online triage
  • Long-term care facilities
  • Community health departments
  • Long-term care facilities
  • Private home care practice

You Belong with SHU!

Our mission to prepare students for lives of professional success and personal and spiritual growth excludes no one. And it’s because of that mission and the spirited way we live it that students of different faiths, ethnicities, and socio-economic backgrounds have made SHU the launching pad for their dreams and ambitions.

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  1. “Healthcare Occupations,” Occupational Outlook Handbook, Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor. Retrieved November 30, 2021, from
  2. “Nurse Anesthetists, Nurse Midwives, and Nurse Practitioners,” Occupational Outlook Handbook, Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor. Retrieved November 30, 2021, from